Life, Sex, and Death: Selected Writings of William H. Gillespie

Life, Sex, and Death: Selected Writings of William H. Gillespie

Life, Sex, and Death: Selected Writings of William H. Gillespie

Life, Sex, and Death: Selected Writings of William H. Gillespie

Synopsis

A distinguished and revered elder of the British Psycho-Analytical Society, Dr William Gillespie is one of the few British psychoanalysts who began training in the Vienna of the early 1930s. Later he became well known in England for his pioneering studies of sexual perversion, and for his views on female sexuality, regression in old people facing death, and on instinct theory.William Gillespie is celebrated not only for his scientific contributions but also for his administrative skill, integrity and tact in managing the International Psycho-Analytical Association and the British Psycho-Analytical Society, where he was trusted and respected by both Melanie Klein and Anna Freud.In a biographical introduction the editor, Dr Michael Sinason, looks back on the productive 90 years of Gillespie's life, writing movingly of his early life in China and Scotland and showing his development as a psychoanalytic thinker, organizer and administrator, husband and father. Dr Charles Socarides, an American psychoanalyst eminent in the field of perversion and its treatment, discusses the innovations introduced by each of the papers in the collection shows how Gillespie's ideas influenced by his own contributions and affected the field as a whole.

Excerpt

Dr Michael Sinason

I first met William Gillespie as the fleetingly glimpsed husband of my training analyst Sadie Gillespie. a few more impressions were gathered from exchanges on the telephone when I had to leave a message. William was courteous and precise in his tone and manner but also engagingly blunt and direct in sorting out any ambiguities in my messages. He seemed an able 'minder' for his wife in the event that this should be needed in the course of the analysis. These impressions did not alter when, some years after the end of my training analysis, I came to know Sadie and William socially, but I was also then able to enjoy William's wry sense of humour and sharp character assessments. I had also, of course, heard during my training about William's years as President of the British Society and President of the International Psychoanalytical Association. William, however, rarely referred to the famous analysts or the political events as I expected. I eventually discovered that this was based on a deep dislike and distrust of grandiosity or pomposity that meant that he was averse even to acknowledging his achievements let alone to trumpeting them. Sometimes Sadie or colleagues would complain to William about his modesty, but he would then impishly enjoy quoting Churchill's memorable but cruel characterisation of Clement Attlee as 'a modest little man with much to be modest about'.

When the plans for this book began to take shape I made a strong bid to include with the papers two chapters which would redress the balance and allow William's contributions to British and international psychoanalysis to be voiced. in this chapter I provide a biographical outline so that the reader can map his outstanding clinical and organisational achievements on to the nine decades of his personal life. in the next chapter, Charles Socarides reviews William's contributions to the psychoanalytic literature and identifies the influence his papers have had on the understanding of sexuality, the perversions and the destructive instincts and on the direction of subsequent

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